Here’s a List of Animal Sounds in Other Languages
Have you ever wondered if other cultures translate sounds as well as words? More specifically, the noises animals make?
For instance, does everyone sing ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ using the same “quack quack’s” and “oink-oink’s”, or do they have their own version?
Experts in linguistics will tell you that each language has its own set of sounds, expressions and grammatical rules. So, what happens when these translate in to animal sounds? Well, it has some fun results, as you’ll see.
Our Spanish Friends
The second-language to many Americans is Spanish. Widely spoken throughout Europe too, this popular language is derived from a Latin dialect.
Differences in animal sound are noticeable. For instance, while we know cows to say ‘moo’, in the Spanish language this is more of a ‘muu’ sound, more closely associated with the English version. Similarly, their interpretation of ducks is more of a British sounding ‘cuac cuac’ in phonetic terms.
But, in a complete deviation, the sound of a horse is not ‘neigh’, instead a far livelier ‘jiii’! But our favorite translation is the sound that frogs make, which according to the Spanish is “berp” or “crua crua” instead of the “ribbit” we’re familiar with.
Viva la French!
Meanwhile in France, where it’s common to eat horses, snails and frogs, their animal sounds are a little different too…
Frogs make a charming “croac croac” sound, not to be confused with crows that specifically make a “crôa crôa” noise.
According to French language, horses are known to have a higher pitched “hiii”, while gobbling turkeys make a fascinating noise, which they hear as “glou glou!”
Unmistakable Italian Style
In the ever-charming Italian language, there are more differences yet. Dogs don’t bark, they gently express a “bau bau” sound, frogs go “cra cra” and curiously, chicks make a “pio pio” sound.
But our favorite is reserved for the humble mouse, who must be feeding off the delicious local food to emanating an exquisite “squitt, squitt, squitt” noise!
The German Way
An affectionate joke joke throughout Europe is that German’s are an uber-efficient race. This can be seen in some of the words used in their language for animals.
Not too dissimilar to the Italians, dogs make a “wau wau” sound, not to be mistaken for cows, that go “muuuuhhhh”!
The grunting sound of a pig is “grunz grunz” to the German ear, while roosters don’t cock-a-doodle-do, but instead “kekeriki”, go figure!
Out of Africa
Home to some of the most beautiful wild animals in the world, there are many languages that compromise African culture. But generally speaking, elephants are known to “trompetter” while goats actually “me me”, but best of all monkeys “kwetter”!
Big in Japan
Dogs are some of the most loved pets in Japan, but this sprawling metropolis has its own take on animal sounds. Here, dogs go “wan wan”, a sound that is more pronounced in China, where it sounds like “wang wang”. While birds may tweet in our native tongue, in Japan they make a “pii pii” noise instead, and better still, cats go “nyan”!
When in Turkey
In Turkey where the letter ‘v’ is more commonly used, animals take on a new lease of life! Ducks don’t quack, they “vak”, and frogs don’t ribbit they “vrak”, while a barking dog is known to “hev”. Even bees make different noises in Turkey with a “Vzzzzz” sound. But when it comes to birds, they make a cute “jick jick.”
From Russia with Myau
While many misinterpret Russian as a harsh language, the sounds used for animals show its hidden gentle depths. Indeed, cats make a gentle “Myau” sound, while horses mutter a formal “I-go-go”. A whimsical “ouh-ouh” can be expected from birds. Even the pesky pigeon makes a cute “guli guli” noise!
Find out More
To find out more about your favorite creatures and the way their sounds are interpreted around the world, check out this illustrated infographic, or pump the volume up and take a listen to their sounds here.
For a complete and comprehensive list of animal sounds the world over, check out this impressive chart pulled together by The University of Adelaide. Now, what’s Australian for a kangaroo sound!?